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29 Oct 2002 : Column 780W—continued

Birmingham Airport

Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will withdraw the option for a second runway at Birmingham Airport. [77098]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government intend to publish an air transport White Paper next year which will set a policy framework for aviation and airports in the UK over the next 30 years. In support of this White Paper we are consulting on a range of options, including the development of a second runway at Birmingham. We are inviting views on the arguments for and against providing different amounts of new airport capacity at different locations, including several options in the Midlands.

It is our aim to ensure that any development is sustainable and achieves a balance between economic, social and environmental considerations. All responses received will be considered carefully before taking any final decisions on the policies for the White Paper.

Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of (a) the viability of and (b) the need for lengthening the existing runway at Birmingham Airport. [77099]

Mr. Jamieson: Our background studies identified airport capacity constraints in the Midlands before 2030. Therefore, we have considered options for development at Birmingham International Airport, on which we are currently consulting.

Cars (Taxes and Licences)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the answer of 21 October, Official Report, column 27W, how many local authorities have joined the scheme in using DVLA powers to wheelclamp and impound untaxed vehicles since the pilot in the London Borough of Newham. [78192]

Mr. Jamieson: Following the Secretary of State's announcement on 10 April, Newham, Lewisham, Wandsworth and Croydon have undertaken clamping and impounding unlicensed vehicles using devolved powers as DVLA's partners. Southend on Sea and Hastings have completed all the training and are due to commence operations shortly.

In addition the DVLA is giving free on-line access to the vehicles record to local authorities seeking information on keepers of those who abandon their cars. 200 local authorities have asked for this facility.

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The roll-out of this initiative started on 1 October and to date, 19 are confirmed as being on-line. The remainder will be set up as soon as possible.

Departmental Logo

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much it cost to redesign the Department's logo and subsequent changes to Departmental stationery and documentation following the name change from DETR to Department of Transport; and whether outside bodies were involved in the creative process. [78191]

Mr. Jamieson My Department has spent a nominal sum of less than 25,000, from within existing budgets, to make the required changes to the departmental logo, stationery, signage and web site design. The work was carried out by contractors under our normal framework agreements for design and print of paper and electronic publications.

Detrunking Programme

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the detrunking programme will end; and what additional resources will be made available to local highways authorities in (a) England and Wales, (b) North Yorkshire and (c) the City of York to cover their additional responsibilities from that time. [77836]

Mr. Jamieson: It is planned to end the current detrunking programme in 2006 and the timing of the integration of the detrunked roads into the local government finance system is currently under consideration.

Firefighters' Strike

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration has been given by his Department to reducing the national speed limits on roads during the firefighters' strike; and if he will make a statement. [77523]

Mr. Jamieson: There are no plans to reduce the national speed limit.

Health and Safety Commission

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment has been made by and for his Department of the performance of the Health and Safety Executive including recent performance targets; what reports have been published on its performance; and if he will place copies of such reports not readily available in the Library.[Transferred] [76187]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: I have been asked to reply.

Responsibility for the Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive transferred to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) on 24 July


The former Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) Public Service Agreement for 2000 set a number of targets for the Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety

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Executive, and these are published in the former DTLR 2002 Annual Report. Progress against these targets is reported in the DTLR Annual Report on page 166.

Further information on progress against performance targets will also be included in the DWP Autumn Performance Report to be published in November.

Road Schemes

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many schemes are in place on motorways in the UK where use is allowed of the hard shoulder during rush hours; and what plans he has to increase this number. [76522]

Mr. Spellar: There are at present no instances of the hard shoulder being used during rush hours in England. A forthcoming project on the M42 (the Active Traffic Management (ATM) Project) will trial the use of hard shoulder running at peak periods and at other times to help reduce congestion. The trial between Junction 3A (the M40) and Junction 7 (the M6) and will be subject to rigorous safety requirements. For the devolved Administrations, this is a matter for the National Assembly for Wales, the Scottish Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Road Traffic Accidents

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will meet the Red Cross and St John Ambulance Brigade to discuss third party liability insurance for people who stop to help at a road traffic accident. [77989]

Mr. Jamieson: The Red Cross and St John's Ambulance Brigade do very good work. If they have concerns about third party liability insurance they should, in the first instance, set them out in writing to officials at this Department.

South Central Line

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the latest timetable is for the upgrade to the South Central line. [76469]

Mr. Jamieson: Negotiations between the SRA and Go Via are continuing towards the new franchise, which will deliver new trains, station upgrades and information systems. A separate substantial programme of track and signalling improvements will now be led by the Authority, to ensure effective completion as early as possible.

Tonnage Tax

Mr. Ivan Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which UK shipping companies have benefited from the tonnage tax since its introduction. [77928]

Mr Jamieson: This information is commercially confidential and is exempt from disclosure under Section 13 of Part II of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

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Tree Removal

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will require Railtrack to consult local authorities on removal of trees from the trackside. [77615]

Mr. Jamieson: [holding answer 28 October 2002]: No. This is an operational matter for Network Rail.

Trust Ports

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which trust ports have appointed representatives of local authorities in that capacity to their boards since the publication of the Modernising Trust Ports review. [78170]

Mr. Jamieson: My Department does not hold details of individual appointments made to trust port boards, other than those made by the Secretary of State.

West Coast Main Line

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been given to Virgin Trains as compensation for the late completion of the West Coast main line upgrade. [73812]

Mr. Jamieson: No compensation has been paid by Government to Virgin Trains. Railtrack and Virgin Trains have a contractual relationship covering the upgrade of the West Coast Main Line. Any payments from Railtrack to Virgin Trains under this contract are for delays in the upgrade of the infrastructure and for consequent loss of business.


Child Support Agency

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures are in place to ensure that an absent parent pays child maintenance; and what action is taken if they do not make the necessary payments. [74418]

Malcolm Wicks: The administration of the Child Support agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mr. Doug Smith. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Mike Isaac to Mr. James Wray, dated October 2002:

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